2008-09-26

Creation vs Evolution - The Debate Rages On

Surprisingly, it seems that the teams have switched sides: A prominent scientist calls for creation to be welcomed into the science classroom while the Church of England claims creationism & Darwinism are compatible and offered an apology to Darwin for judging him too quickly.

Last week I was surprised to read an article that Michael Reiss, professor of science education at the Institute of Education, University of London, and director of education at the Royal Society (an old and respected scientific institution), had said that Creationism DOES have a place in the science classroom. Now, He is far from proponent of creationism, intelligent design, or anything other that evolution. Rather he feels that open discussion with students who do believe in origins other than evolution is an approach that a science teacher can hope to at least ensure the students understand the evolutionary position. A rather open minded approach for a proponent of evolution.

However, just a week later a Rev. Dr. Malcolm Brown posts articles on the birthday of Charles Darwin celebrating his life and contribution to science and the theory of evolution. All of this on the official Church of England website. Now I know the Anglican church is FAR from evangelical in it's beliefs and practices. But when did the Christian & scientific communities trade places on this issue? While I found Professor Reiss comments to be open minded, honest, and encouraging I find Dr Brown's writing be ignorant fluff more interested in public relations than the pursuit of truth.

He claims:
Whilst it is not difficult to see why evolutionary thinking was offensive at the time, on reflection it is not such an earth-shattering idea. Yes, Christians believe that God became incarnate as a human being in the person of Jesus and thereby demonstrated God’s especial love for humanity. But how can that special relationship be undermined just because we develop a different understanding of the processes by which humanity came to be?

I guess on the surface the concepts seem very compatible. However the biblical & evolutionary worldviews are polar opposites. The bible tells us that God created a perfect world, as a result of mankind sin death entered the world, and now we need to be saved by Jesus. Evolution says that the universe and everything in it created itself through countless generations of things living & dieing they improved through random chance, natural selection, and survival of the fittest. So if you accept evolution as true then death existed long before mankind and isn't a result of our sinful nature, and if you don't have a sinful nature then you don't need Jesus as yopur personal saviour.

The doctor also claims that the theory of evolution has been missaplied to creat the concept moral progress. The basic premise being that, if humans are continuing to evolve physically then the same must be true socially & morally. He then says this misconception of moral progress was the basis for racism or Nazism. He said that Darwins theory on physical evolution was hijacked to create a "social Darwinism". In reality, the concept of physical evolution has social implications. It doesn't have to be hijacked or misapplied (whichever term you prefer) in order to have logical implications on social thought & structure.

The basic concept of evolution is that through natural selection and survival of the fittest a species changes over time (for the good). In other words, animals with weaker traits for survival and reproduction are weeded out of the gene pool while animals with stronger or new more benficial traits garner prominence simply by the fact that they are the ones that live & live longer. Logic therefore dictates that if the species homo sapien sapien (humans) are evolving too then the same must be true about them. By that logic, humans with weaker physical traits are inferior to those with stronger traits. So if someone kills a person with triats deemed to be inferior then that person is simply giving mother nature a helping hand and is actually helping the human race to be better & stronger. This was of course the justification for the slaughter of native americans, slaves and segregation in America, and of course the holocaust.

I wholeheartedly disagree with the biology professor at the univeristy in Kansas, whom he quoted as saying "The kids (who believe evolution to be heresy) know that if they want a good job they need a degree, and if they want a degree they have to work with evolution theory. Creationism is for church, as far as they’re concerned. Here, they’re Darwinists". Honestly, I don't have to believe the world is flat in order to learn that people thought that way, so I don't have to believe in Darwin's conclusions just because it's part of the curriculum. Thankfully the doctor disagrees with the professor as well.

However he does want a rapproachment between Christianity and Darwinism as a matter of integrity. Yes, as Christians we are called to live with integrity. Yes, as Christians we are called to, in love, give people the benefit of the doubt. But first and foremost we called to put our faith in God and His word. When something disagrees with God & His word then we have the freedom, nay, the obligation to rebuke it and disenfranchise ourselves from it. Sadly most Christian churches, groups, and organizations are doing the exact opposite. It's the doctor unknowingly already has his wish.

Since God is the author & creator of all things and truth, good science being the pursuit of truth, then there is one statement he made that I can embrace without question: "Good religion needs to work constructively with good science – and I dare to suggest that the opposite may be true as well."
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